Think back to a time when you felt “different.” Perhaps you were in a situation where you didn’t look like or act like everyone else. Maybe you couldn’t keep up with an activity due to physical limitations or lack of skill sets. Regardless of why you felt the way you did, you remember these times because they evoked strong emotions. Brene Brown, American author and research professor at the University of Houston, provides some insight into this universal need to fit in. “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically and spiritually wired to love, to be loved and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as we were meant to. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache. We hurt others. We get sick.”
With the need to belong such an important aspect of the human condition, authors of children’s books in particular frequently address the issue of being different. For example, in the book “Carrot and Pea” by Morag Hood, Lee and his friends all look alike and enjoy the same games. That is, except for Colin. But Colin, who is a carrot, doesn’t feel left out because he is appreciated for his uniqueness. In her book “You Are (Not) Small,” author Anna Kang delivers a powerful message about being different using a humorous dialogue between two creatures who attempt to label one another either “big” or “small.” It’s only when an outsider shows up that the two creatures realize that how they perceive each other, and others around them, is all relative.
DBRL offers a variety of books to choose from on the subject of being different. Here are just a few.
- “Who We Are! All About Being the Same and Being Different” by Robie H. Harris
- “It’s Okay to Be Different” by Todd Parr
- “I See Things Differently: A First Look at Autism” by Pat Thomas
- “No Difference Between Us: Teach Children About Gender Equality, Respectful Relationships, Feelings, Choice, Self-Esteem, Empathy, Tolerance” by Jayneen Sanders
- “You Be You” by Linda Kranz
- “Don’t Call Me Special: A First Look at Disability” by Pat Thomas
- “We’ll Paint the Octopus Red” by S. A. Bodeen